Hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to be suspended until new data emerge

Hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to be suspended until new data emergeThe hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will be suspended once the current search area in the Indian Ocean has been completely scoured, the ministers of the three countries conducting the operation announced Friday, possibly ending all hopes of solving aviation's greatest mystery.

"In the absence of new evidence, Malaysia, Australia and China have collectively decided to suspend the search upon completion of the 120,000-square-kilometer (46,300-square-mile) search area", Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said after a meeting with his Australiana and Chinese counterparts.

He said suspension of the search does not mean an end to it.

"Should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given in determining next steps," he said, reading out from a joint statement. But it was clear that the searchers have given up hopes of finding the jetliner with less than 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles) left to be searched.

Read also: Mozambique debris almost certainly belongs to missing MH370

In their statement, the ministers acknowledged that "the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading."

The Boeing 777 vanished more than two years ago while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. It is believed to have turned back west and then south before dropping into the Indian Ocean west of Australia, where the search has been concentrated.
Hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to be suspended until new data emerge

Liow said the current search is being hampered by bad weather and damaged equipment, but still it would end by December. Although the ministers were at pains to say the search has not ended, it is evident that it highly unlikely to be resumed after December, given how few clues have emerged since the disappearance of the plane except for some debris that has been found on the western coast of Africa thousands of kilometers away.

The search has so far cost 180 million Australian dollars ($135 million) —the most expensive in aviation history.

Source: Associated Press
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